Country Singer Mel Tillis Dies At 85
Country music legend Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning. He was 85.
According to a statement from his publicist, the singer died at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida after a long battle with intestinal issues.
“What an incredible loss for the country music world,” read a tweet from Rascal Flatts. “Mel Tillis will be greatly missed.”
A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tillis recorded more than 60 albums and had six No. 1 hits, including “I Ain’t Never,” “Southern Rains,” and “Good Woman Blues.”
He reportedly wrote more than 1,000 songs during his career, including hundreds of tracks for other artists, including George Strait (“Thoughts Of A Fool”), Kenny Rogers (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”) and Ricky Skaggs (“Honey, Open That Door”).
Tillis was a Grand Ole Opry member and, in 2012, received the National Medal of Arts from U.S. president Barack Obama.
On Twitter, Tim McGraw remembered Tillis as “one of the coolest guys in country music ever and an extraordinary songwriter!”
Crystal Gayle tweeted “There will never be another Mel Tillis!”
"Some of my most cherished memories are the times I spent with Mel Tillis,” singer Blake Shelton shared on Twitter. “Many many great memories. From fishing, to just having a beer, to him crashing my concert!
“He did his best to try and keep my head on straight. I looked up to Mel more than he could've possibly known. A talented songwriter. An incredible entertainer. And a funny funny guy. It has been a couple years since I saw him last. I deeply regret that now.”
Tillis is survived by six children, six grandchildren and a great grandson as well as two siblings and longtime partner Kathy DeMonaco.